Hike Morro da Urca

One of the most convenient and well known hikes in Rio de Janeiro is Morro da Urca (more famously known as the first part of Pao de Acucar).

Hike Morro de Urca for awesome views, easy to moderate difficulty, and another FREE activity in Rio.  It also gets you halfway to Pao de Acucar, one of the most famous attractions in the city.

Getting There:

From Leme beach, it is about 30 minutes walk to Praia Vermelha. (You can also use the easy and convenient bike share program for a faster trip)

Praia Vermelha Rio de Janeiro Morro da UrcaPraia Vermelha – turn and walk along this paved path towards the hill

When looking at Praia Vermelha (facing the ocean), turn left and walk to the very edge of the beach.

There, you will see the entrance to Morro da Urca’s trail.

Morro da Urca Hike RioIt’s free to enter and open from 6am-6pm every day.

There were lots of people, and it felt very safe and “in the open”

Morro da Urca Trail Hike Rio De JaneiroThe first part of the trail was paved (you can take the paved trail to a different end, and then turn back if you don’t want to take the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca), and had gorgeous views of the sea.

Hike Morro da Urca Trail Rio de JaneiroWhile on the paved trail, an option to take a dirt trail to your left appears with signposting. This is the trail to the top of Morro da Urca.

Morro da Urca Pao de Acucar Trail Hike Rio de JaneiroIf you decide to take this trail, I highly recommend wearing sneakers with good grippings (my sneakers were a bit too slippery) or something like Vibrams.

You definitely won’t regret the exertion, because you’re greeted by monkeys throughout the trail, and by more beautiful views.

Morro da Urca Pao de Acucar Hike Rio de Janeiro Trail

Once you’ve reached the top of the dirt trail, you can take the floating tram to the top of Pao de Acucar (be sure to buy your tickets at the Praia Vermelha tram station before starting the trail, you can NOT purchase tickets at the top of Morro da Urca).

Or, you can stick around for some great beach views, and enjoy the (relatively) quiet.

Morro da Urca Pao de Acucar Hike Trail Rio de Janeiroview from the top of Morro da Urca, near the tram station

From Leme Beach, to Praia Vermelha, up the paved trail, through the dirt hiking trail, and back down all the way to Leme Beach, the total trip time is about 3-4 hours.

If you’re especially fit and you’re more interested in a brisk pace and a good workout than relaxing and taking in the views and some photos, you can probably do the whole thing in under 3 hours.

I would NOT recommend the dirt trail to the top of Morro da Urca for the elderly or for children. I saw some groups trying to do it, and they didn’t look especially pleased. It is quite steep and slippery.

What is your favorite hike in Rio de Janeiro? Have you ever tried Morro da Urca?

For some reason, I didn’t make it to hike Morro da Urca until I’d already been living in Rio for 7 months… especially silly because it’s a short walk from my house. Don’t be like me – take advantage of the awesome, free hike awaiting you.

Interested in other hikes in Rio? Morro do Leme is another convenient, easy hike walking distance from the beach.

Necessary Details: Rio de Janeiro

What Else to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Check out my full guide to Rio de Janeiro here, which includes the best suggestions for hiking (including my favorite Morro do Leme hike), where to eat, weekend getaways from the city (including Buzios), and the best beaches.
You can read every article I’ve ever written about Rio de Janeiro (and there’s a lot: I lived there for almost two years!) here.
Viator offers a bunch of different Rio de Janeiro tour options, including for visiting Christ the Redeemer, and provides excellent customer service and refunds if anything goes wrong — much more than local operators would do.
Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro
If you have around $100 per night to spend, you can’t get a better value than Rio 180 hotel — each room is a suite and has its own private hot tub along with incredible views!
For a wider range of pricing options, check here  or Airbnb is a great value in Rio de Janeiro. You can use this link for 39USD off your first stay!
How to Arrive to Rio de Janeiro 
You can take the bus into Rio de Janeiro from many destinations within Brazil, but most people choose to fly. While Copa Airlines isn’t my favorite carrier, they do usually offer the cheapest flights. To check the latest low prices on airfare to Brazil, try Skyscanner , or if you have some date and/or destination flexibility and want to score the absolute lowest prices, try Kiwi.com.
Visa information for Brazil and Visa Renewal in Rio de Janeiro
I’ve written an extensive post (along with Q&A about the topic in the comments) here

A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. June 4, 2015 / 6:12 pm

    Gorgeous! I’m really hoping to get to Rio during the time I have left in Sao Paulo state for some hiking.

  2. Michael
    July 2, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    Hey,thanks for an tip and good description of the tour!
    I just went up there with my 60yo reasonably fit mom. If you aren’t really unfit it should be possible for most people I guess.
    You CAN buy a ticket on top of morro do urca to continue to the pao de acucar! I would even strongly recommend you to do so as it is half the price from up there!

    • Steph
      July 3, 2017 / 8:13 am

      Hi Michael! Thanks for the information, that’s a big change from when I visited! Glad to know they’ve instituted that – it would have helped us a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.